.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chairman Financial Services and General Government Appropriations (FSGG), joined his House and Senate colleagues in celebrating the Senate approval, by unanimous consent, of H.R. 6336, a bill to move the District of Columbia's Frederick Douglass statue into the United States Capitol, marking the first time that the District, like the states, will have its own statue in the Capitol. The statue move was included in the fiscal year 2013 FSGG appropriations bill, passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee in June under the leadership of its Chairman, U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI).
"As one our nation's most powerful voices for justice and the equality of all people, Frederick Douglass' writings and teachings still speak to Americans today. It is particularly fitting that this long overdue legislation authorizing the placement of a statue of Frederick Douglass in the United States Capitol will be enacted near to the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's signing of the preliminary proclamation that paved the way for the Emancipation Proclamation," Durbin said. "Moving a statue of Frederick Douglass to the United States Capitol will not only recognize the accomplishments of one of the most important political activists in American history, it will also help correct the imbalance of influential African-Americans honored in the halls of our nation's Capital."
The bill, sponsored by U.S. Congressman Dan Lungren (R-CA) and co-sponsored by U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), was passed by voice vote in the House on Monday and now heads to the president for his signature. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, sponsored a companion concurrent resolution in the Senate (S. Res. Con. 49).
"We have tried for years to be represented in the Capitol with a statue of our choosing, like each of the 50 states," Norton said. "Today, with a vital assist from Rep. Dan Lungren's leadership in the House and leadership from Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), and Dick Durbin (D-IL), the District's Frederick Douglass statue will come to the U.S Capitol. Not only will the Douglass statue pay tribute to one of the nation's greatest human rights heroes, it will bring one of D.C.'s two statues into the Capitol. D.C. residents pay more than their share of federal taxes, and are entitled to have two statues in the Capitol, like every state. Our other statue, of Pierre L'Enfant, the man who planned the city of Washington itself, remains on display at One Judiciary Square, and I will continue to fight to bring that statue into the Capitol, as well. Today, however, we salute Senators Schumer, Inouye, and Durbin and Chairman Lungren for generously working with us to achieve a long-sought goal that means a great deal to the residents of the District of Columbia, placing in the Capitol the statue of one of the District's most celebrated residents, the great Frederick Douglass."
"Congress has now acted to complete its work insuring that the statue memorializing national civil rights leader Frederick Douglass will finally be moved to its rightful place in the U.S. Capitol," Senator Schumer said. "I am glad to have worked with my House and Senate colleagues to get this long-stalled initiative sent to the President for his signature."